Album Review: Tame Impala – Innerspeaker (2010 LP)


It’s a little overdue, but now is as good a time as any to take a look-see at Tame Impala’s debut album InnerSpeaker. Given the belated nature of this review there is a good chance that you have probably heard most of the LP, or even acquired its goodness for your own enjoyment. Nevertheless, there is a missing piece in the Album Review section, and it must be filled… with this.

I grabbed InnerSpeaker on release with actually very little knowledge of the boys from Perth. I had heard a few songs here and there that intrigued me, but I didn’t really know much about the band or their sound. It was a sort of investigative purchase. One that has produced some relaxing rainy days in, some wonderfully mind-altering bus rides and some epic car journeys.

InnerSpeaker kicks off with the slightly pessimistic but beautiful “It Is Not Meant To Be”. A list of differences set to some euphorically enchanting guitars. It sets the tone for the album nicely and although it is a stand out for me now, I didn’t really like it at first. I wanted something with a bit more edge but like most of the other tracks it crawled into my mind tank, moved discreetly towards some nerve endings somewhere not quite tangible and nestled in for the long haul. The ‘edge’ came along soon after and I fell more and more under the twisted spell of Tame Impala.

The album travels through fleeting yet permeating moments of simultaneously surreal and sincere layers of infinitely structured shapes and colour – mmm, contradiction. Seriously though, it really does move through space and time in a rainbow chariot drawn by silver wolves rocking Yin – Yang wheels, faux fur seats and mighty Thor at the reigns. Tasteless attempts at metaphor and analogies aside, the album feels somewhat nomadic as it drifts along, pausing at moments to reflect or offer an alternative path, then continuing with an ethereal confidence to completion. The journey takes you through some delicate harmonies, captivating drums and enchanting guitar/bass combos transformed by a multitude of effects. The lyrics are intense, influential, nonsense, catchy, beautiful, wonderful, abstract, imaginative… brilliant.

I lied about ditching the sooky allegorical stuff… the album is kind of dream-like. “Jeremy’s Storm” embodies this, with its massively powerful and as much as I’ve tried to find another word: its hugely psychedelic effect. An instrumental song layered with loads of reverb, crisp echoing guitar, driving bass lines and solid drums. It has a magical essence and a statically interfered rock hit directly into your body. Movement seems to be a natural reaction to the sounds pouring from the speakers and that is something I enjoy very much. I’m also going to fail at avoiding a comparison. It feels like InnerSpeaker could easily travel back to the late 60s and masquerade as Pink Floyd somewhere between The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and A Saucerfull Of Secrets. It is an eclectic, somewhat experimental collaboration of sounds that is actually very well constructed and presented.

I’m not going to single out any other particular tracks, they all have their value and unless you’ve successfully avoided the radio over the past few months, you’ve heard some/most of them. With such huge sing-along potential and superb harmonies and melodies interacting with so many effects, InnerSpeaker is a very special collection of ideas from a very interesting Australian band that surely has some intriguing prospects future hence. If all of the above seemed superfluous, contradictory, pretentious, nonsensical or utter twat, then ignore it all and have a listen for yourself at your local music shop or through the wonders of the internet. Or better yet, buy the album, insert it into your personal music playing device and take your own journey. It will be worth it.

Review Score: 9/10